The history of the world has been altered frequently by the flow of secret intelligence and vital information. For thousands of years, informants have played a crucial role in the destinies of nations. The End Times are no different. Today we’ll meet three men whose inside information has helped to prepare the way for earth’s final days.
Whenever I visit the Holy Land, I marvel at the miraculous reestablishment of the nation of Israel. I can walk where Abraham walked, stroll through fields where shepherds watched their flocks by night, and sail across the Sea of Galilee where our Lord stilled the storm. The birth of the modern state of Israel, which I believe paves the way for the End Times, is a fascinating story; but its survival as a nation is equally remarkable.
Eli Cohen: Israel’s Informant During the Six-Day War
One of Israel’s greatest heroes was an informant named Eli Cohen. He was born in Egypt in 1924. Beginning in high school, he secretly did whatever he could to advance a pro-Israeli agenda within Egypt. In 1960, he was recruited by Israel’s Secret Service. They gave him a false identity as a wealthy Arab merchant who had immigrated to Argentina and was returning to his homeland of Syria. Israel produced elaborate stories and documents to substantiate his assumed identity, and the Syrians were duped.
For the next several years, Cohen lived in Damascus where he was known as Kamel Amin Tsa’abet. He became friends with Syrian leaders. As he learned strategic secrets, he passed them to the Israelis via radio signal. He even visited Syrian military installations in the Golan Heights, and he sent photographs and sketches of the entire Syrian front lines back to his handlers in Jerusalem.
This information enabled Israel to win the Six-Day War. Thanks to information Cohen collected, Israeli agents managed to deter the aerial bombing of Tel Aviv.
At the beginning of 1965, Soviet agents captured Cohen as he was sending a radio message. He was placed on trial, charged with espionage, and hanged. But to this day, he is known as one of history’s greatest informants whose intelligence helped to preserve the young nation of Israel at a moment of great peril.
Two End-Times Informants
Both of them began their walk with the Lord at young ages and lived to be old men with a lifetime of wisdom and godliness to inspire us. Both of them experienced miracles and received visions. Both men wrote strikingly similar books, full of apocalyptic visions that provide layer upon layer of insight into the events preceding, during, and after the Great Tribulation.
In many Bible colleges and seminaries, there are courses called “Daniel and Revelation,” because it’s commonly accepted that a thorough knowledge of the book of Daniel is critical to rightly understanding John’s book of Revelation.
Daniel: The Informant Who Mapped Out Human History
In his classic survey of the Bible, Explore the Book, Dr. Sidlow Baxter wrote, “This book of Daniel… is full of supernatural marvel, both in the events which it records and in the visions which it describes. But its interest is eclipsed by its importance; for it preserves to us not only unique links in the chain of history but also vital keys to the interpretation of prophecy.”
The first chapter of Daniel introduces us to the young man himself, a Jewish captive in Babylon who bravely resisted foreign brainwashing. Though he mastered the culture and education of his captors, he and his three friends resolved not to be defiled by their ungodly environment. Whenever I read the first chapter of this book, it makes me want to sing that old song “Dare to be a Daniel.”
In the second chapter, Daniel describes a time when he and all the Babylonian Magi were nearly killed because King Nebuchadnezzar was furious at their inability to reveal and interpret his dream. After Daniel spent time in earnest prayer, God helped him to explain the king’s dream. His description of a giant statue outlines the rest of biblical prophecy and human history.
Later in chapter 7, Daniel himself received a vivid dream in which he saw four beasts rising from the ocean. The fourth beast was exceedingly strong, and it had ten horns. The latter part of the chapter provides the interpretation of the beasts, and with careful study we discern that the vision of the four beasts is an amplification of the earlier vision of the great statue.
Daniel’s vision stretches all the way to the end of days and offers these thrilling words about the glorious return of our Lord Jesus:
I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed (Daniel 7:13-14).
I never tire of reading and studying Daniel, and I find that every word of Daniel prepares me to read and appreciate the writings of his fellow informant, John.
John: Our Informant for Earth’s Last Days and the New Jerusalem
There are two things to bear in mind about John’s book of Revelation. First, it is not incomprehensible. The very name of the book is Revelation, as in “reveal.” John is revealing vital information to us about the future, and he promises a specific blessing as we study this book (Revelation 1:3). While it may seem confusing at first, its purpose isn’t to obscure information but to reveal it; and that means the earnest child of God who prayerfully studies this book will come away enlightened and strengthened.
Yes, you can understand Revelation!
Second, while some of the symbols in Revelation may seem perplexing, the broad outline of the book is reasonably simple and clear. Chapter 1 serves as an introduction that helps us appreciate Revelation and its great theme of the matchless sovereignty of the One who is the Alpha and Omega of history. Chapters 2 and 3 are mini-epistles and personal messages to the seven churches to whom this letter was originally addressed. Chapters 4 and 5 take us to heaven and show us the great scenes unfolding around the Throne as final preparations take place for the return of Christ.
Then we come to the largest chunk of the book—chapters 6 through 18—which describe the terrible events of the Great Tribulation. A series of seven seals are opened, spelling out the doom of the planet. A series of seven trumpets sound the alarm. A series of seven bowls pour out wrath upon the earth. In the midst of all these catastrophes, John describes the Antichrist and his ilk in vivid and brutal terms.
Then suddenly, it’s all over. In one of the most thrilling scenes in all the Bible, Christ returns: “And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, ‘Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!’ ” (Revelation 19:6)
Chapter 20 describes the thousand-year reign of Christ, known as the Millennium, and the subsequent Great White Throne Judgment. In chapters 21-22, the Bible ends with a guided tour of the New Jerusalem, our eternal home.
I want to encourage you with all my heart to read and study the book of Revelation. The first time I preached through this book, I didn’t understand it as well as I would have liked. But the next time I studied it, it became clearer. Now every time I read through Revelation, I understand it a little better, and I’ve found that I learn best as Isaiah prescribed: “Precept upon precept; line upon line; … here a little, and there a little” (Isaiah 28:10, KJV).
Think of Daniel and Revelation as God’s intelligence manuals, sent to inform us of the future. These two prophetic books show us the things that must shortly take place, and they offer hope as we await the Coming Christ (Revelation 22:6). Don’t shy away from them. Read them prayerfully, study them expectantly, and share them joyfully.
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For deeper study of Revelation and Prophecy, visit Dr. Jeremiah’s Prophecy Academy where you will find a panorama of prophetic materials to enhance your understanding of God’s Plan for the end of the world.